Stats: 29 miles and 1562 feet of ascent
Middleham has a small selection of great little pubs and cafes. The halfway halt is Askrigg, so switch the damn Strava to pause (it does have a pause button!) and stop for a brew and cake at one of the local haunts.
The Cornmill Tearoom in Bainbridge is also well recommended and serves great cake.
This is a great little rolling ride from Middleham Castle and a superb introduction to the Dales. It takes an obvious line through Wensleydale, with sweeping descents to catch some speed, using the parts of the Dale that Le Tour missed out on, as well as some of the Le Tour route. Some moderate climbs lead you nicely to Askrigg, home of the James Herriott series (filmed around here), before some easier riding back to Middleham, passing Castle Bolton.
1. From the Castle head down to the village/ town cross and the A6108 road. Turn left and flow speedily downhill to the bridge over the Ure onto Mightens Bank. After a quarter mile, turn left onto the narrow lane (Low Lane) towards Wensley village itself.
2. A junction meets the A684 at Wensley. Turn left and cycle over another larger bridge before ascending to West Witton. The road drops down to Swinithwaite before climbing steeply to Aysgarth. Thankfully as you leave the village the road bends right and drops with speed into the Dale bottom, then continuing with ease to Bainbridge.
3. At Bainbridge take the junction right signed to ‘Askrigg’, dropping along the lane and over the bridge to the ‘T’ junction. Turn right and climb into Askrigg – time for tea.
4. Leave the village uphill on the Leyburn Road and stay on this, with some cheeky climbs fitted in on the way to Redmire. However, this return leg has a friendly more downhill gradient in your favour on the way back.
5. The road from Redmire sweeps down with a steep and twisting section to the junction with the A684 at Wensley. Turn right onto the A684 and then left at the church back onto Low Lane.
6. Cycle the 1.6 miles of Low Lane back to the A6108. Turn right and head back to Middleham, with a short climb to finish off the day.
2 famous castles and some superb Dales scenery should have whetted your appetite for more. Check out what’s on offer on our road routes section.